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09 July 2018
A Letter from former U.S. Permanent Representatives to the United Nations
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

July 2, 2018

Dear Mr. Secretary,

As former U.S. Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, we are well aware of the scale and scope of the critical humanitarian work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

UNRWA runs more than 700 schools for over 525,000 students, as well as 42 health centers that absorb 3.5 million patients annually. The Agency provides emergency food and other humanitarian aid to over 1.7 million civilians. Like other United Nations agencies, UNRWA is in the process of reform, and at the same time, remains a vital source of stability in the Middle East.

Historically, the United States has provided generous financial assistance to UNRWA. As UNRWA’s top donor, the United States has exercised its leadership and influence to help ensure that UNRWA’s operations and engagement reflect U.S. values, priorities, and interests.

We understand that the Administration has recently largely withheld its anticipated contributions to UNRWA for 2018. UNRWA has indicated that the organization is facing an unprecedented financial gap that threatens its humanitarian work, even with recent additional financial pledges from other Member States. This financial gap puts into question the ability of UNRWA to continue to deliver education and healthcare services to millions of people, and has national security ramifications for our closest allies, including Israel and Jordan. We urge you to restore U.S. funding to help fill this gap.

We would encourage the Administration to engage in a meaningful conversation with all relevant parties on the future of UNRWA and any changes needed to ensure the broadest possible financial support.

Thank you for your focus on the important challenges the U.S. and its allies face in the Middle East, and the role of UNRWA in meeting the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees. Please let us know if we can offer any additional thoughts and perspective on this issue.

Sincerely,

Ambassador Thomas Pickering
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 1989 - 1992

Ambassador Edward Perkins
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 1992 – 1993

Secretary Madeleine Albright
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 1993-1997

Ambassador Bill Richardson
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 1997-1998

Ambassador John Negroponte
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 2001-2004

Ambassador Susan Rice
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 2009-2013

Ambassador Samantha Power
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 2013-2017

CC: Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
John Bolton, National Security Advisor